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Charles Theatre

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1935–1936, Wetherell and Harrison. N. Main St., south of Blunt St.
  • Charles Theatre (David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim)

The Moderne style—in the form of its early Art Deco image—continued to be used through much of the 1930s. On occasion it was updated by architects who employed materials and colors associated with the Moderne's second phase, the Streamline Moderne. This is the case with the Charles Theatre, which is nothing more than a facade treatment—but what a treatment. The background of the building is shimmering glazed black tile. Against this background is a series of vertical designs and patterns in brilliant gold, blues, and rust-colored glazed terracotta. The high point of the design is the facade's central panel over the marquee. This is composed in the fashion of an ascending group of organ pipes. This theater is unquestionably one of the major Art Deco monuments in the state.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Charles Theatre", [Charles City, Iowa], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Iowa, David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 363-363.

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